Amnesty International has released the names of seven women being arbitrarily detained in an enforced drug rehabilitation camp in China due to being practitioners of the meditation discipline Falun Gong. They are at extreme risk of torture.
Initially, 15 Falun Gong practitioners were detained by police on Sept. 10, when plainclothes officers raided two homes in Jiamusi City, Heilongjiang Province. Their homes were ransacked and possessions confiscated. No detention or arrest warrants were issued, and the practioners’ families were not notified of their detention. The following day, nine women and one man remained in custody at the Jiamusi Detention Center. Two of the individuals started a hunger strike during this time.
One month later, the 10 individuals were sentenced to two years’ re-education through labor (RTL) and transferred to camps. Ren Shuxian, Zhao Juan, Zhang Shuying, Wang Yingxia, Cui Xiuyun, and Xiang Xiaobo were sent to Harbin Women’s Drug Rehabilitation Labor Camp. One woman, Liu Lijie, is being kept in the same camp’s fourth brigade.
Two of the women, Zhang Shuhua and Qiu Yujie, were denied admission to the camp due to their poor physical condition, a result of their ill-treatment in the detention center. For similar reasons, the only male, Zhang Limin, was also rejected admission to Suihua Forced Labor Camp. These three are therefore no longer being held.
Contrary to the Chinese regime’s regulations, the authorities have provided no formal statements of RTL assignment to the families of the detainees. Lawyers hired by two detainees, as well as the families of all, have been repeatedly refused access since late September, before transfer to labor camps. Because no one has seen them since their transfer, these detained practitioners are at extreme risk of torture and ill-treatment.
Most of those detained have previously spent many years in prison or RTL camps as a result of their beliefs. Zhang Shuying was previously incarcerated in such camps three times, Liu Lijie was previously detained three times, and Wang Yingxia spent three years in prison.
Amnesty International asks for people to write in English, Chinese or their own language calling on the Chinese authorities to immediately release all seven individuals, as they are detained solely for exercising their freedom of belief, ensuring all those detained are not tortured or otherwise ill-treated while in custody.
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